Kimberley - Julius Malema on Sunday criticised “power drunk” African National Congress leaders who have drifted away from the masses.
Malema said some leaders have become arrogant on power given to them by the masses and warned against another Polokwane elective conference, which led to the recall of the country's former president Thabo Mbeki.
“Never be ahead of the masses,” said Malema to a cheering crowd of youths in Kimberley.
He said the current leaders were allowed to lead at the front.
Before Malema addressed the crowd, Northern Cape ANCYL chairperson Shadrack Tlhaole saluted Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe as leader, and Fikile Mbalula as secretary general of the ANC.
Tlhaole urged ANC President Jacob Zuma not to comment on the disciplinary process of Malema and other Youth League leaders in public.
The province's ANC chairperson John Block was also warmly welcomed at the economic freedom rally.
Block said the ANCYL was a legal organisation of the ANC and not banned.
“The ANC should not run away from ANC Youth League.”
Malema hailed the provincial ANC structures for standing in support of the embattled Block.
The Northern Cape leader faces two legal battles over investigations into alleged fraud.
“Days are dark, friends are few now,” said Malema in acknowledging Block.
“You send out a strong message of confidence to the rest by not running away from Block.”
Malema also commended Block and the provincial ANC leadership for not being afraid of “political leprosy” in showing support at Sunday’s meeting.
Malema told the gathering the ANC was formed for economic freedom due to land grabs by settlers.
“The rest (voting rights) came afterwards, but fundamentally it was about economic freedom and unity of Africans.”
Referring to the ANC’s disciplinary action against him and other Youth League leaders, Malema said the ANC could not punish its children for being active.
Malema said when a child is “messed up”, the parent must help him or her.
“We criticise the ANC, we criticise ourselves and no-one should take it personally.”
Turning to unemployment, Malema said the youth had a responsibility to restore the ANC in line with the Freedom Charter.
He said the youth should fight for the nationalisation of mines and the expropriation of land without compensation.
“All revolutionary songs talk about land, not blue lights.”
Malema urged the current generation of youths not to give up hope on economic freedom. - Sapa